Tax practitioners' ethical sensitivity: A model and empirical examination [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 26 (4):271 - 288 (2000)
Ethical sensitivity triggers the entire ethical decision-making process (i.e., recognition of ethical content in work situations). In this article, five factors are examined that affect tax practitioners' professional ethical sensitivity. The five factors that were examined include role conflict, role ambiguity, job satisfaction, professional commitment, and ethical orientation. Ethical content in work situations is examined in relation to professional ethics as enumerated by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountant's (AICPA) Statements on Responsibilities in Tax Practice (SRTP). Utilizing Hunt and Vitell's (1986, 1993) General Theory of Ethics, a model of ethical sensitivity was constructed and empirically tested. Role conflict negatively and job satisfaction positively influenced tax practitioners' ethical sensitivity. Also, the covariates of the tax practitioner's professional risk level and type of employer were found to be significant. The significant factors are job specific. The tax firm may have the best opportunity to positively change a tax practitioner's ethical recognition abilities. Professional accounting organizations may need to evaluate if resources should be used to formulate, maintain, and publicize codes of conduct because of the lack of significance of professional commitment.
Keywords code of conduct  ethical sensitivity  Hunt and Vitell's general theory of ethics  tax practitioners
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